i remember when i first got online. it was 97 & i was dating chris at the time, living back at my parents' house & hearing about this whole new fangled "email thing." i was 21 & once i got email i decided to learn how to type too since i'd never bothered before that due to a lack of necessity. i started hanging out on aol & chatting w/ long distance friends & sometimes, late at night, i even went into chat rooms. it seemed so strange & vaguely scandalous to be able to have conversations w/ strangers, all the while, never speaking a word. you could say any kind, foolish, ridiculous, hilarious thing you wanted & other people could read it, but they didn't even know who you were. it was liberating & slightly scary to be able to create a new identity if you wanted to, all the while knowing that the people you were chatting with might be doing exactly the same thing. it was all like a mystery. you heard about people meeting someone from "online" and that was always spoken of as if the person going for the meeting must have a death wish or was incredibly stupid & naive. as if there aren't other people like ourselves out there on the other end of internet connections also looking to meet harmless people.
over the years i've met several people who i got to know online first (none of them romantic because i was already involved w/ chris before i got online) and none of them have maimed, killed or destroyed me yet. the internet has evolved our way of communicating. cell phones & texting have eliminated many of the conversations we might have had in person or at least in voice. i can sometimes go for a few days without speaking to anyone other than chris & brooke.
i miss having human contact sometimes. i miss having a social life and people to spend time with. i have lots of free time and very little of it is spent w/ anyone outside my family, due to circumstances beyond my control.
but yet, since facebook entered my home about 2 years ago, it's like a whole new world has opened up for me. i don't have to see people to know what's going on with them anymore. i don't have to call someone if something i see makes me think of them. i just post it on their facebook wall. there are an awful lot of people in the world who i know & like & would enjoy keeping up with & now i'm able to do that even if i can't leave my house. i can see all the pictures i want of people's vacations or kids w/ missing teeth or new pets or weddings. i can see my friends family members who i haven't seen since i was a kid. i can get a glimpse of all the spouses & children of people who i haven't seen in years & probably won't see again. i can laugh & chat & joke w/ someone i went to elementary school with & revel over how much her daughter looks just like she did at that age.
and blogging is yet another way of seeing into the souls of people whether i know them or not. until i started blogging myself back in january, i'd only read one person's blog ever & i loved it! she was such a great writer & was able to articulate in such a deep & funny way things that i never would have known about her otherwise. now i spend a lot of my free nights hippety hopping around the blogosphere, getting a peek into the lives of friends & strangers. i cry, i laugh & am inspired to think. i love it! there's a whole big, invisible world of thought available for the clicking.
i know that a lot of people feel like the internet gives a false sense of reality and relationships. it's not the same as good ole back-slappin', face-to-face communicating. but for me, i feel like it allows me to have contact that i wouldn't otherwise be able to have. i feel less lonely & more connected. i feel like i'm less invisible than i was before facebook & blogging came into my life. it gives me something to do during my free time when i'm tired of reading or cleaning or watching tv or doing projects around the house. and i'm thankful for it.